Whether you run a business completely online or have a website for your brick and mortar business, your choice of a hosting provider is crucial. In many ways, the company is one of your business partners. You are establishing a long-term relationship where you will heavily rely on their technical expertise and knowledge about maintaining a website. When all the companies out there are promising the world, here are some helpful tips to choose the one that will best meet your needs.
Price is obviously a primary factor, but it is important to remember that while all hosting companies are providing the same core services, what is included exactly, and how they go about offering them can vary greatly. Do not just look at the price without delving a bit deeper into the offerings of each. Higher quality hardware and better customer support cost money and will be reflected in higher hosting fees. While saving money is an important goal for all businesses, being tempted by the cheapest service provider can end up costing you in the long run. Ultimately, you get what you pay for. It is important to think about the specific needs of your company and which hosting provider will help you meet them.
Reliability and Uptime
100 percent uptime is clearly the most desirable, but you cannot find a hosting provider who offers this. Things happen, and it is just not possible off an iron-clad guarantee that your site will never, ever go down. But, a good provider will guarantee at least 99.5 percent. Find out what type of resources they use to correct utility failures. Examples include back up generators and uninterruptible power supply (UPS.)
Experience with Your Type of Website
Website needs vary greatly between different types of businesses. Some hosting companies and the services they offer are better suited for specific types of customers. One provider may be a better fit for a rapidly growing business, while others are more adept at working with simpler sites, like that of a typical blogger. This is where internet review sites can come in handy. You will find plenty of customers discussing the strengths and weaknesses of a particular host, giving you a good idea if this company can meet your needs.
Chances are, you are going to need support at some point during the life of your website. This is especially true if you are not exactly the most tech-savvy person.
The level and quality of support vary greatly among hosting companies, and you do not want to make any assumptions here. Have a full understanding of how tech support works in a given company before choosing your provider. Is there 24/7 support available? How are you able to contact the support staff? Is their support outsourced? Hop online and see what you can find about the company’s reputation for tech support. You want a company who views this element of their business as being just as important as the hosting services they provide, not secondary.
No matter what hosting company you are considering, there should be a set of minimum features that are provided as a standard. If you are unsure whether a plan includes them, make sure you ask. They include FTP and SSH, PHP, Perl and CGI, subdomains, statistics and logs, FrontPage extensions and email. As for emails, there are a few things you want to check for. How many aliases does your plan include? Can you forward emails? Are you able to set up auto-responders? Does it have a catch-all account? Does it include applications to check email on your mobile, such as POP3 and IMAP?
Features and Add-Ons
Most companies will offer features and add-ons to give theirs an edge over the competition. They all provide servers, so they need to do something to stand out. See what features or add-ons the company offers to further help you narrow down your choice. Some may boast of energy-saving features, which is good for the eco-consciousness. Multiple data centers may be particularly important to you. Find out what makes the company special, and with all other things being equal, go with the one that offers the bonuses most helpful or important to you.